Glenwood reluctant to do away with Cardiff ‘Roundhouse’ community hall
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – City Council is hesitant to give up a public open space provision that was part of the original development agreements for the Cardiff Glen subdivision 11 years ago.
US Bank now owns the two remaining undeveloped lots in the subdivision after the developer, Village Homes, fell into foreclosure.
The bank has since asked the city to eliminate a requirement to construct what was referred to as the “Roundhouse” community center in Grand River Park as part of the final phase of development.
Homeowners in Cardiff Glen, located near the Glenwood Springs Municipal Airport, initially opposed the request, not wanting to lose any public amenities.
However, the homeowners, who are represented by two separate homeowners’ associations, also didn’t want take on future maintenance and other financial responsibility for the facility.
So, the bank and the HOAs recently reached an agreement for an undisclosed monetary payment to the homeowners in exchange for eliminating the Roundhouse, according to city planner A’Lissa Gerum.
Now, City Council wants to ensure at least some of that money indeed does go back into public improvements for the 157-home subdivision, before it will agree to remove the community center provision.
“We’re going to need something from you to indicate some of those funds will be used for public amenities, or there won’t be the votes on this council to remove this obligation,” Mayor Bruce Christensen said at the Dec. 16 council meeting, where majority of the council members indicated they were uncomfortable with the deal.
Complicating matters for the city is that the amount of the bank’s settlement is confidential.
The estimated cost to build the Roundhouse to specifications outlined in the development agreements would be about $500,000, according to Rob Gavrell, attorney for the HOAs.
“We did reach a monetary solution,” Gavrell said at the Dec. 16 meeting. “We can’t disclose that amount, but there is no restriction on the use of that money. The homeowners do intend to use it for public improvements that don’t come with significant long-term costs.”
He justified doing away with the Roundhouse by stating in a letter to the city that the Glenwood Springs Community Center, which was built in the meantime, now serves that function.
But some council members were concerned about giving up what was intended to be a local community amenity, rather than a larger public facility, when Cardiff Glen was approved.
“This was intended to be a local gathering place,” said Councilor Shelley Kaup. “The community center is too far removed from this neighborhood and doesn’t serve the intended local need.”
That’s not the say the “Roundhouse” needs to include all the amenities outlined in the original subdivision agreement, such as a swimming pool, Kaup said.
Councilor Russ Arensman said he, too, will need to see some sort of agreement on use of the settlement money.
“We need to stand up for the community and the people out there to make sure some tangible improvements come out of this,” he said.
Councilor Stephen Bershenyi said he didn’t see a problem in doing away with the Roundhouse requirement, which he noted would result in maintaining the open space, in the form of the park, that currently exists.
“This whole thing was a result of bad decisions made over time, including by the city,” Bershenyi said. “I’m uncomfortable passing this onto the homeowners.”
The bank, meanwhile, cannot do anything with the undeveloped lots until the Roundhouse issue is cleared up.
“We’re just trying to clean up their [the developer’s] mess, and make the best of the situation they left us in,” said Dan Minzer, an attorney for US Bank who also was at the Dec. 16 meeting.
The matter was continued for further discussion after the first of the year.
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